Last update: 08.12.2019
Twitter is a great tool, but it can be too much at times. The good news is you can delete your Twitter account permanently. If you’re tired of the constant arguments, we have the right stone for your sling to silence this annoying chirper once and for all. Here’s how to remove your Twitter account once and for all.
Why should you delete your Twitter account
There’s more than one reason for wanting to terminate your Twitter account. Most of the time one is enough, but for those still sitting on the fence, here’s a list that may sway you to the right side.
1. You’re giving away private information
The only private information on Twitter is your direct messages. Everything else, including tweets, is used to build targeted ads that also show up on your feed. That’s how that page listing your interests is generated – the algorithms just check your timeline and do the rest.
If that doesn’t look like a 24/7 surveillance tool that sees what you read, write, whom you talk to, and which brands you discuss, then we don’t know what does. But there’s more.
You probably don’t remember these items from the Terms and Conditions, but you are:
- Giving away your device type and IP address. This allows Twitter to know your location and potentially. Unless you’re hiding your IP address and encrypting your traffic using a VPN service, Twitter knows a lot about the IRL you.
- Disclosing the list of apps that are installed on your device, which in turn can access your tweets.
- Sharing contacts from your email app and elsewhere. While this may be useful, it’s even more useful for Twitter. Using this data, the social network can create groups with similar interests and better understand potential customers.
To be fair, Twitter doesn’t do anything with your information that other social media and Internet companies don’t do. In general, Twitter is a safe and secure platform. However, it’s worth remembering that if you don’t protect your tweets, they’re available to every Twitter user. Not only that, search engines can find them, and list them among relevant results pages.
2. Twitter is addictive
Psychologists agree – Twitter is addictive. You start liking the bluebird’s song so much that you join in. Suddenly you’re no longer listening to the melody – you’re waiting to hear it, standing by your window with an empty gaze, forgetting everything around you.
Does that sound like addiction? Just like any other social network, Twitter tries to take as much of your time, to the point where you’re reading what people you don’t know think about things that don’t matter to you.
3. Twitter does not forget
Ever tried reading your old tweets? Then you know it’s not the best idea. While writing “capital should be equally divided! #hangthebourgeoise” looked fun during your college years, it might not go over well with HR at the workplace you’re applying for.
People’s views change as they grow older. Rather than search for individual tweets, it’s often easier to delete your Twitter account and start again. Or if you’re worried that some of your views may harm your chances of career advancement, canceling your account may be the only viable option.
Why should you download your Twitter history?
You should download your Twitter history because you never know when you might need the old tweets you’ve written. You may be accused of saying something you didn’t say. Or you may need to recall some vital information you once shared in a tweet.
It’s always best to download your Twitter archive before you start the account deletion process — just in case.
Downloading your Twitter history goes like this:
- Start by going to your Twitter “Account settings” (click the profile icon which can be found at the top right of the page).
- Then, select “Settings and privacy.”
- Towards the bottom of the menu, you’ll find the link “Request your archive.” Click it.
- You’ll receive a message telling you that a link to your archive will be emailed to you. This can take up to 24 hours, so don’t worry if it drags on.
- Click the link in the email from Twitter to access your archives via a ZIP file, and save them on your local drive.
How to delete your Twitter account in 5 simple steps
- Sign in. Start by heading to Twitter.com and signing in
- Head to your settings. Click your profile icon at the top right of your Twitter page, and a menu will open. Select “Settings and privacy.”
- Deactivate. At the very bottom of the “Settings and privacy” page, you will find the “Deactivate your account” link. Click it, and you’ll be taken to a warning page.
- Read the information provided. Deactivating a Twitter account is a big step, which is why the company gives you a cooling-off period. Read the information provided on the deactivation page, telling you what the process entails.
- Enter your password. A popup should appear when you click the “Deactivate” link at the bottom of the information page. This is your last chance to change your mind (although you can reactivate your account for a short period afterward). If you’re happy to continue, enter your password in the box provided, and click “Deactivate account.”
Are my tweets gone now?
No, it’s not so simple. If you’re keen to erase your tweets from existence, it won’t be enough to delete your Twitter account. Search engines may still list your old tweets, such as “capital should be equally divided! #hangthebourgeoise,” for months, or even years, after deletion.
When you delete tweets, the likes of Google keeps them in cached search engine results. Until the search engine updates the cache, your old, unprotected tweets will continue to show up on results pages. However, when someone clicks the link, they’ll be taken to Twitter’s error page.
If you want to request that Google removes your tweets as soon as possible, you can do so by sending Google’s content removal service a link to the tweet you want removed. Learn to control your digital footprint – your future you will be thankful!
Couldn’t stay without Twitter and back online again?
At least make it harder for Twitter to store your personal data by following these three simple rules:
- Always Log Out. If you use Twitter on a smartphone, the site may track your activity on connected apps even when you don’t think you are logged in. Yo make sure this doesn’t happen, double-check that you have logged out of Twitter after checking your account. Don’t just close it and move onto another app or website.
- Use a VPN. Using a VPN is a reliable way to hide your identity from Twitter’s data gathering bots. In fact, it’s probably the only ironclad way to ensure anonymity when tweeting. With a good VPN installed, your IP address will be scrambled, hiding your location and the nature of your device. And everything you send will be encrypted, adding another layer of protection.
These three rules will reduce Twitter’s data gathering to a minimum. At best, the network will be able to track who your account is communicating with, but linking it to your identity will be tough. Incidentally, this is also why using a VPN is so useful if you intend to tweet about controversial political issues, especially in repressive countries.
If you intend to lock down your Twitter account, make sure you use the opt-outs and a VPN together, and tighten up your smartphone security practices. In general, if you want to ensure security online, it’s a good idea to reduce “connected apps” to a minimum, as almost all of them will have data-gathering operations.